Reigning British Rally champion Matt Edwards stormed to a National win at Saturday’s WKD Trained Dogs Rally North Wales after a gruelling day in the forests surrounding the Dolgellau rally base.
Edwards, from Conwy and co-driver Hamish Campbell blasted their FIAT 131 Abarth to a nail-biting Historic category win in the National Rally.
Matt Hirst and co-driver Declan Dear made it back-to-back Interclub victories, taking their Ford Fiesta R5 to six fastest times in a fine display during what would be a difficult day of competition for many crews.
The popular motorsport event, sponsored by leading multi-disciplined dog training firm WKD Trained Dogs, returned after a two-year break due to the pandemic with a bumper entry of around 160 crews tackling eight stages of classic Welsh tests in the Dyfi, Gartheiniog and Pantperthog forests.
Organised by Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire Car Club, Rally North Wales attracted some of the biggest championships in the UK. The Fuchs Lubricants Motorsport UK British Historic Rally Championship contenders utilised the National event.
Crews in the Pirelli Ravenol Motorsport UK Welsh Rally, ANWCC Forest Rally Championship and Bowler Defender Challenge contested the Interclub section.
Competitors in the MINI Challenge tackled a shorter, more cost-effective rally during the day, only contesting the opening four-stage loop, designed as the perfect introduction to forest rallying.
British champion Matt Edwards has embarked on a Historic campaign in 2022, developing a FIAT 131 Abarth for RSD Developments. He pushed previous Rally North Wales winner Nick Elliott all day long.
Elliott entered the mid-point on top of the leader board, but a puncture set him back, leaving Edwards to take the lead. Despite suspension issues of his own, Edwards performed impeccably over the afternoon tests to score his maiden BHRC victory.
Elliott salvaged second place whilst Hereford’s Roger Chilman and co-driver Patrick Walsh took third after a fierce encounter with Ludlow’s Henri Grehan and Dan Petrie. Both driving Ford Escort’s, just five seconds separated the two after eight blistering stages.
In the Interclub category, Hirst, driving his new Fiesta R5, was locked in a fight with Lampeter’s Dylan Davies and Mark Glenerster in their Skoda Fabia R5. But he had the upper hand to seal his second Rally North Wales win, adding to his 2019 victory and claiming maximum Welsh Rally Championship points in the process
Davies took runner up spot whilst Mitsubishi Mirage R5 pilot Tom Llewellin and co-driver Dale Bowen sealed the final podium spot.
James Bond stunt driver and three-time British champion Mark Higgins secured the Bowler Defender Challenge honours, co-driven by Claire Williams, whilst Mick Smith and Paul Stringer sealed the MINI Challenge victory.
Full results can be found at www.rallynorthwales.co.uk
Image credits Russ Otway - 90Right -
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